Friday, October 16, 2015

TO STORY >> Answer to higher authority

Leader staff writer

The Lonoke County Sheriff’s Office this week put “In God We Trust” decals on the back of all 25 of its patrol vehicles.

The decals were paid for by a private individual and not through the sheriff’s office budget. Numerous other individuals were also willing to pay for the project.

Sheriff John Staley said, “This is not about religion. It is about the nation’s motto. It is to bring unity to the nation starting at the local level.

“I am not making a personal statement. I asked my employees and citizens what they think. I wanted to know their thoughts. I wanted to hear the dissenting argument. There was no descent from the sheriff’s office. There would not be any negative repercussion if a deputy did not want the decal on their vehicle. This is a constitutional republic. Most of the dissenting voices were from people out of state and other cities,” Staley said.

Placing “In God We Trust” on law enforcement vehicles is happening around the nation. The Perry County Sheriff’s Office recently put the motto on its vehicles, Staley said.

“If I or the sheriff’s office is sued over this, the Liberty Institute has pledged to defend us at no cost to Lonoke County taxpayers,” the sheriff insisted.

The Liberty Institute, based in Texas, is a nonprofit law firm dedicated to religious liberty issues across the country.